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Road to Democracy in South Africa Essay

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What do you know about the transformation of South Africa into a democratic state? Why was this process tragic? Although the road to democracy in South Africa was very long, one can point out at the four most intensive years of this process. When one thinks about the democratic changes in South Africa, he means the period between 1990 and 1994. These years were extremely dramatic and the whole world followed the events occurring in this country. Democratic development of South Africa is related with violence and intensive political competition. The entire country tried to change their political system in order to improve their lifestyle. As might be expected, such alterations are very difficult inasmuch as the ruling power tried to maintain its influence in the state.

There is hardly a nation in the world that has gone through so many challenges in order to establish democracy in its country. The establishment of democratic values in South Africa is connected with the names of Nelson Mandela and F. W. de Klerk and such political parties as ANC and PAC. The country chose its democratic way on 2 February 1990 when president of the state F. W. de Klerk established the new political course of his country. At that time, the country was ruled by Afrikaner nationalists who formed the National Party and supported the program of apartheid. White and non-white population lived separately. White population was minor, thus they wanted to keep the power in their hands with the help of the policy of segregation. There were special districts for the people of both races. Needless to say but non-white population was dissatisfied with the current lifestyle. Such political parties as the African National Congress and the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania struggled against the system of apartheid with the help of different methods.

Nelson Mandela was one of the brightest representatives of ANC. He was among the founders of the military wing of ANC called Umkhonto we Sizwe. Mandela was imprisoned for his activity and spent 27 years in jail. The second part of the 1980s is characterized with the massive protests against the National Party. The wisest decision of the president was to make concessions in order to cope with the existing crisis. As a result, F. W. de Klerk decided to unban ANC and PAC and release all political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela. The leading party thought that ANC and PAC would not find public support as they had been banned for the latest 30 years.

The National Party decided to reach an agreement with ANC about the future of the country.

Unluckily, the negotiations were accompanied with the township violence. Several hundred people were killed and injured in terrible massacres. These dramatic events interrupted the process of negotiations. Experts say that these massacres were organized by the unknown third force, which was not interested in the reforms in South Africa. The government decided to ask white people whether they supported the upcoming reforms in the state. In 1992, de Klerk organized a ‘white’ referendum referring to the necessity of the political reform. About 68% of voters supported this new political course of the state. Due to the results of the referendum, the NP and the ANC began to cooperate. Sad to say but one of the former leaders of Umkhonto we Sizwe Chris Hani was assassinated in 1993. This terrible event could break the peace and understanding between both parties. Nelson Mandela gave a public speech on television in order to prevent the reaction of the supporters of the ANC. This assassination could become a brilliant pretext for the civil war in South Africa. Fortunately, Nelson Mandela managed to calm down the people of his country since he realized that the assassination of Chris Hani was a provocation of the third force.

In 1994, the people of South Africa received a unique chance to start a new prosperous life. Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa and ANC got the majority of votes during the elections.

Without doubt, under the presidency of Mandela (1994-1999), the state experienced its biggest development.

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